Saturday, October 12, 2013

Steam controller demo does not look like crap.

Which surprises me.  You may've noticed that I didn't cover Valve's announcements last week in the least.  I figured it would be worth talking about when it actually existed in a meaningful way, and we understood a bit better what they intended - and the same was true of their freakish controller.

Track pads?  Seriously?  No one likes track pads.  They barely work on laptops - I don't need to control my games with them.  But the demonstration Valve showed off today won me over quite a bit.

What really impressed me was the speed and precision in the first-person shooters - the way the player was able to line up perfect mouse-like headshots in the final demo.  But watching the movement on the controller itself, you'll notice it's not as energy-efficient as an analog stick.  If the player wants to sweep the camera to the right, he swipes in that direction - but he can only swipe so far before he reaches the edge of the trackpad.  In order to continue looking further in that direction, the player has to return their thumb to the middle of the trackpad and swipe to the right again - whereas on an analog stick, it would be a single movement, held, until the desired position is reached.

So I'm more sold than I was, but I'm not completely sold.  The lack of tradition face buttons still freaks me out, but one Internet meme-maker provides an excellent point with this quote:

So let's just wait and see.


  1. The swipe, back-to-middle, swipe, back-to-middle is exactly what bothered me about this video. It just doesn't seem comfortable. The narrator suggested that this was just one option and that you could also choose to have it behave like a stick would, but... I'm not convinced. This video has not convinced me.

    Oh, and the fact that he had to move the mouse cursor down to the "End Turn" / "Select next unit" area in Civ and couldn't just hit a button to streamline it (like you can on PC with Enter) - that really put me off.

    1. Although as I understand it wouldn't be hard to map a button or part of the coming touch-screen to end the turn.

  2. To be fair, there's a lot of things I hate about the 360 controller (diagonal d pad buttons), a lot of things I hate about the mouse and keyboard (hot keys beyond 4 are pointless) and a lot of things I hate about the ps... actually, the ps3 may be my favorite. The center button delay grinds on my nerves a little, but that's just because I'm obsessed with turning it off when I'm not using it.

    In other words, there's advantages and pit falls to each. Though I was hoping they were going to roll out that swiss army controller. I'm pretty broken up about that.